The Corner

Is It All About Waterboarding?

The Washington Post has a fair-minded, on-the-one-hand/on-the-other-hand editorial on why it thinks we need a bipartisan commission to investigate torture allegations. I’m not sure I agree with their conclusion, but what actually caught my eye was this:

AND YET, on the other side, we have this: American officials condoned and conducted torture. Waterboarding, to take the starkest case, has been recognized in international and U.S. law for decades as beyond the pale, and it was used hundreds of times during the Bush years.

I know people of good conscience object to other methods as well. The sleep deprivation, confined quarters, shackling etc., are beyond the pale to some. But as a political matter, it seems to me that waterboarding is really the only method that has the power to drive the torture complaints. If the interrogators hadn’t waterboarded, would there really be a firestorm over the other techniques? Maybe. But I kind of doubt it.


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